Cold Weather = Cold Muscles
Updated: May 20
The cold winter weather is upon us in the Chicago area. With the colder temperatures, your muscles may feel a bit tighter than usual. That’s because cold weather causes muscles to lose more heat and contract, causing tightness throughout the whole body. Joints get tighter, muscles can lose their range of motion and nerves can more easily be pinched, according to Los Angeles-based orthopedic physical therapist Vivian Eisenstadt.
When your muscles are colder, it’s critical for you to take time to warm them up before working out. One of my favorite Pilates moves that warms those muscles right up is the ladder barrel stretch.
*I should mention you don’t necessarily need a ladder barrel to do this stretch, you can easily do it at home by placing your leg on an elevated service that is in line with your hips.
Here’s how you do a ladder barrel stretch:
1. While facing the barrel, sweep one leg across your body and up onto the barrel.
2. Bend and straighten your standing leg to find your reach seat.
3. Lift and bend your center over your leg, doing a swan-like stretch.
4. Switch your standing leg and repeat on the other side.
It’s important to note that even if it is warmer out, we still highly recommend you warm up or stretch before performing any form of exercise for at least 6 minutes. Warming your muscles up will not only prevent injury, but it will also make your workout more effective overall.